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Cover Story with James Nelson Joyce

Anon Fashion Magazine in Exclusive conversation with James Nelson Joyce for Feb22 Issue No. 45.

Who we have on Cover:

One of the most talented and intensely engaging emerging actors in

the UK, James Nelson-Joyce has really started to make his mark on

the acting world in the past couple of years with roles in both film and


James’ screen career began when the incredibly veratile and

naturally gifted young actor from Liverpool was catapulted into the

limelight as a menacing presence in Little Boy Blue, the tragic real-

life story of 11-year-old Rhys James, who was fatally shot in the

crossfire of a turf war in Croxteth, Liverpool.

For his performance as James Yates, the teenage gang member

who supplied the gun that ultimately killed Rhys James, Nelson-Joyce

embodied the convicted member of the ‘Croxteth Crew’, portraying a

cold, psychopathic aura that emanated from the screen. Having

previously been seen in hit shows such as ‘Shameless’ for C4 and

ITV’s ‘Cilla’, James Nelson-Joyce is now becoming a name to watch.

More recently James was the lead in Lena Headey’s BAFTA

Nominated short film The Trap - which is currently being developed

into a feature length film, The Nest alongside Jude Law and Mount

Pleasant for Sky along with a host of other notable credits giving him

a slow and steady run of jobs to hone his craft.

In early 2021, James Nelson-Joyce was the breakout star, alongside

his now pal and mentor (they first met shooting Little Boy Blue

together) Stephen Graham along with Sean Bean, in Jimmy

McGovern’s critically acclaimed BBC1 drama ‘Time’. Once again

turning on that spine chilling menace, Nelson-Joyce appeared in all

three episodes as an inmate who tormented Bean’s character

during a tortuous and unexpected spell in prison. Joyce received

unanimous praise for this impactful performance.

James Nelson-Joyce graduated from the Italia Conti Stage School -

following his high school English teacher pushing him to pursue a

career in acting – and was most recently seen in Stephen

Merchant’s BBC1 comedy hit, The Outlaws – focussing on a

community service period for a group of misfits in Bristol – alongside

Merchant, Eleanor Tomlinson and Christopher Walken.

Next up for James will be a role in season 2 of the critically acclaimed

HBO Show Industry. He follows that with a role in recently

announced 80’s set gangland thriller for Sky Originals - ‘A Town

Called Malice’. He is also set to portray legendary music industry

character ‘Bez’ in the up-coming Happy Mondays biopic ‘Twisting

My Melon’.


-How did you get into acting?

I got into acting through luck to be honest. I had an English Teacher (Miss Griffiths) who was beautiful!! I was never the smartest kid or good looking, so to grab her attention I would always try and make her laugh by putting on accents and messing about to get her attention. I remember at one point, I was that much of a nuisance that she made me sit with her at her desk. I never knew a thing about acting or that kids from my background could do it, but she pushed me towards it and when the school decided not to have me back, she pushed me towards going to a community college in Liverpool. Getting into acting was all down to a childhood crush and trying to impress Miss Griffiths. I should really send her some flowers or something to say thank you as she really has changed my life and she probably doesn’t even know. It’s a hard industry, full of rejection, self doubt and feeling like you don’t belong, as 99% of the time you’re getting a phone call from your agent saying it’s not gone your way. BUT, I absolutely love my job and have to remind myself that I could be doing a job I hate and that at any point during these times of uncertainty any job could be taken away you, so why not give 100% to a job I love.

-Which actor inspires you, and who was the actor you most loved growing up?

It sounds dead corny, but as teenager I loved hearing local accents on the screen, as I hardly ever heard them and it made the story feel immediately relatable to me. Stephen Graham was genuinely the actor I could relate to the most, as I remember watching him in a TV show called The Street and then in This is England and thinking he’s real, he’s not acting! He has a presence on This is England where one minute you’re hating him and then all of a sudden he will break and have a vulnerability, and you find yourself feeling sorry for him. He can just turn on a sixpence and catch everyone off guard. Even now when I watch him, I still never know what’s coming next.

-What’s the most difficult thing about being on set and what do you love most about it?

I guess the hardest thing about being on set is remembering they’ve employed me for a reason. They’ve seen me audition and liked what they saw. I always feel like this is the job where the producers are going to come over and ask me to go home…..haha! And that will be it, I have to go and find another career. I probably need to have a lot more faith in my ability as an actor to be fair. I’m actually good at it. The best thing about the job is that I have an opportunity to do something I love every day when I’m at work. I know how lucky I am and I’m so thankful for it, as a lot of people dread their 9-5.

-Anything else in the pipeline that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m about to start a new Sky series called A Town Called Malice, which is about a South London crime family in the 1980s, who move to Spain’s Costa Del Sol to try and reinvent themselves. Then I’m onto a series called The Gold which is another crime series. I guess I have one of those faces!! Then I’m onto film Lena Headey’s film The Trap, which is a British indie film about 2 people who don’t know how to love.


Photography Lee Strickland @stricklyfotos

Talent James Nelson Joyce @jamesnelsonjoyce

Styling Mark Anthony Stylist @markanthonystylist

Hair n Make Up Julie Thomas @DavidArtist

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